of the Toledo State Hospital
Who were the patients?
The patients of Toledo State Hospital were as diverse people in Ohio. The ethnicity, race and religion of patients was representative of the population of Ohio. The was no segregation based on these factors. When it was opened Toledo State Hospital was a cited as model of excellence and a far-cry from horrors the asylum stereotype. With its resort-like atmosphere and park-like grounds, it was an accepted as a place for the care for members of many well-known and prosperous families, including surnames that are still seen on historic buildings and streets in Toledo. Unfortunately, it could also be place to segregate those who did not meet family and community standards of behavior. Unruly children, troublesome wives, and “senile” parents could be admitted.
We all have our story to tell.
Because of the anonymity that institutionalization provided, the identity of people and their stories were buried. Our stories are our legacy. We all deserve to be remembered. Families are the the rightful keepers, but because of stigma and shame these stories were not passed on. This is a profound loss to those that come later.
To right this injustice we research and compile information on the lives of people who were buried in the cemetery, because it was likely that they died without family. We plan to preserve and publish these stories and make them accessible on-line to researchers and families. Until that time we welcome inquiries and the opportunity to exchange information.
There are some stories that that may make us smile because we can identify with the trials and ironies of the human condition. There are stories of isolation, injustice, and astounding tragedy.
Learn more about the communities affected:
Immigrants (Coming Soon)
Women (Coming Soon)
Our Facebook page is a great place to find and share stories.
STIGMA, PRIVACY, AND PATIENT RECORDS
Well-intended policies for anonymity have persisted despite great gains in scientific understanding and treatment of mental illness. This wall, built on stigma, created a barrier to understanding and connections between patients and their descendants. Even burials on state hospital property were anonymous. Strict privacy protections were written into law, sealing records for all time.
In recent years Ohio Law has changed to remove these record restrictions for patients who have been deceased 50 years or more. However, most records were destroyed to prevent their disclosure. A few patient records still exist, and those on patients who have been deceased 50 years or more are arrchives at Ohio History Connection.
Overview of Mental Health Patient Records At Ohio History Connection https://ohiohistory.libguides.com/mentalhealth
People Photo Gallery
Thank you to the Toledo Lucas County Public Library for permission to use Images from the Images In Time Collection